As Opera North celebrates the opening of its long-awaited restaurant, Kino, the Company’s venue on the floors above, the Howard Assembly Room, announces an international programme of chamber music to mark its first year since reopening.
- Venue debuts from Swiss pianist Andreas Haefliger and Prague’s Škampa Quartet
- The Doric String Quartet with a programme of Beethoven and Haydn
- The return of Manchester Collective with a trio of adventurous programmes for 2022-23
- Katherine Broderick and Kathryn Stott mark Vaughan Williams’ 150th anniversary with a programme centred around his Songs of Travel
- Indian sarod maestro Amjad Ali Khan
Beyond his sensitivity, musical insights and transcendent playing, German-born Swiss pianist Andreas Haefliger is renowned for his long-running creative programming of Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas. For his Howard Assembly Room debut, the last of Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas, No. 32 in C minor, is contrasted with Schumann’s Davidsbündlertänze – 18 sparkling pieces which reference Beethoven’s opera Fidelio – and Copland’s Variations on a Shaker Melody, plucked from his 1944 orchestral masterpiece Appalachian Spring.
On 3 November, the Doric String Quartet stage a conversation between Beethoven and his teacher Haydn. Beethoven’s 1810 Quartet in F minor Op 95, full of experimentation and originally intended only for private performance, is followed by the third of Haydn’s ‘Prussian Quartets’. Beethoven’s Quartet in G Op 18/2 has the final word – but sparkles with witty imitations of his mentor’s work.
As Leeds Town Hall’s ambitious renovation project continues, Leeds International Concert Season brings more treats from its chamber season over to the Howard Assembly Room. On 22 November 2022, award-winning soprano Katherine Broderick joins renowned pianist Kathryn Stott for an evening of music revolving around Vaughan Williams’ Songs of Travel, in celebration of the 150th anniversary of his birth. James MacMillan’s Scottish Songs, a trio of Percy Grainger’s folk settings, and the world premiere of a new commission by British composer Cheryl Frances-Hoad with text by Adam Strickson are among other highlights of their wanderings through place and time. Furthering Opera North’s commitment to making its performances more accessible, the concert will be BSL-interpreted by Paul Whittaker.
Following three stunning shows for capacity crowds in the Howard Assembly Room over the last six months, Manchester Collective return for their 2022-23 season, in another partnership with Leeds International Concert Season. On 20 October Thomas Adès’ exquisite Arcadiana sits at the centre of a programme of early-career works, complemented by Jörg Widmann’s blistering, techno-inspired 180 Beats Per Minute, and Brahms’ String Sextet in G Major.
Few other ensembles could do justice to the wild score for George Crumb’s Black Angels, which involves chanting in foreign languages, instruments played upside down, strings tapped with thimbles and glass rods, screaming, shouting, beating, counting and praying. On 18 March 2023, the Collective returns to this fearsome Vietnam-era lament, more relevant than ever today. The second movement of Schubert’s ‘Death and the Maiden’ picks up the thread of mortality, destiny and spirituality, and there are contemporary counterpoints in the shape of a brand-new commission by New York hip-hop artist, activist, poet and composer Moor Mother; Edmund Finnis’ Second String Quartet; and Gabriella Smith’s fast and furious Carrot Revolution.
The brilliant, RPS Award-winning guitarist Sean Shibe joins the Collective for Rosewood, ‘a kaleidoscope of musical colours’ on 10 May 2023. He features on electric and acoustic guitars in two new commissions, by British composer Emily Hall and New York composer, producer and multi-instrumentalist Kelly Moran. Elsewhere the programme ventures from La Folia, the ancient theme that inspired Vivaldi, Bach and many more, to twentieth-century works by John Cage and Julius Eastman.
As Opera North weaves together Indian classical and western early music traditions in a reimagining of Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo on the mainstage, the Howard Assembly Room prepares to welcome a giant of Hindustani music, Amjad Ali Khan. The sarod maestro follows his summer Prom with an unforgettable performance on an altogether more intimate stage on 1 December.
Coinciding with Opera North’s mainstage revival of The Cunning Little Vixen in 2023, the Škampa Quartet bring their unrivalled instinct for the accents and rhythms of Czech music to Janáček’s Quartet no 1 (Kreutzer Sonata) and Dvořák’s Quartet in G major. Mozart’s String Quartet 21 in D major, ‘The Violet’ – the first of the composer’s ‘Prussian’ quartets written for King Friedrich Wilhelm II – opens the programme on 2 March.
Tickets for these events and the Howard Assembly Room’s full programme of music, films and spoken word are on sale now at howardassemblyroom.co.uk